My gelding Xander is an 11 year old QH/TB/Morgan, I have owned him for about a year. He is my first horse, so bear with me ok!
I don't exactly have very much experience dealing with this aspect of the horse world, fortunately for me I have access to some very knowledgable people. But, I thought I'd get some totally 'non emotionally involved' opinions.
I jump Xander, we've gone up to around 3'3" and I've shown him (in our one hunter show that I've ever done) at 2'9" schooling hunters. I don't know anything really about his history, as I bought him from a lady who had him in a bad, bad situation. I just saw him and fell in love with him! Then it turned out he is an amazing jumper, and at some point in his life someone had put some good training into him.
Last week I started to have some problems with him, I would get on him and he would start to buck and rear and just be generally uncooperative. The first time he did it, I figured he was just frisky as he had not been outside for two or three days due to sub zero temps (he is body clipped). The next time I went out to ride, two days later, he was the same. This was really unusual for him, he's a generally compliant horse and when he's frisky he usually just gets fast. This was the first time he had really BUCKED since I got him. So, I got off of him and all of a sudden I got the "SOMETHINGS WRONG" surge of intuition. The feeling was so strong I have to admit that I burst into tears!
Well, we called the vet and set up an appointment for her to come and give him a once over, as this was really unusual behavior for him.
The vet appointment was today, and I couldn't be there, as I was at school. The barn manager filled me and my mom in and here's whats up.
He needs the chiropractor, that one's easy, the barn manager is actually setting up a day for her (chiropractor) to come to the barn and do a whole bunch of horses. So he will be seen in the next week or two. Until then, no riding so that his back doesn't get anymore out of alignment. However, its been suggested that I keep him moving so that he doesn't tense/stiffen up to much more before he gets seen. So here is my first question: whats the best way to keep him moving? Lunging, in hand work...? I'm not sure whats best for him.
Next, the vet said his joints are really dry and he needs some help. My barn manager suggested I start him on Pentosan, which is what all their competition horses (AQHA) get. She said it was the best thing to keep him comfortable for the level of jumping we want to do and the amount of competition I was hoping to do this summer. So, next question: some opinions/information on Pentosan? Will it make a lot of difference in his joints? Experiences with it helping/not helping?
I really want to keep jumping him, and he practically lives for jumping, but of course his comfort and welfare is my first priority.
Next, he is a fairly anxious/high energy horse. Its been recommended by my trainer, barn manager, barn owner, and vet that he be put on a calming supplement. My vet actually has suspicions that he has a magnesium deficiency, causing him to get more upset and be harder to calm down than other horses. So, I agree that he needs it. But, here's the problem, he is the pickiest horse ever!
He wont eat any
supplement that I put in his grain, no matter what I do to it. I've mixed in molasses, wet his grain, mixed in applesauce, made into a 'cookie' with oats and molasses and ground peppermint. All to no avail! The vet also suggested I put him on a digestion supplement because of his anxiety and the amount I want to travel, to keep him from getting ulcers. And, I want to give him an electrolyte in the summer. So, does anyone have any suggestions to get him to eat his supplements?
Ok, so that kind of turned into a novel
so kudos to anyone who read the whole thing! I really need some help/opinions/experiences.